Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

Prisoner of Pride

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"Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for 'God resist the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time" (1 Peter 5:5-6).

In reading this verse, I find the need of a silent moment of prayer..."Lord, open our eyes and our ears to understand Your will for us, to see the broad picture of Your will in our life. Lord, grab our attention to what is beyond this life that will help us to succeed to find time and energy to provide for Your glory."

Every one of us, directly or indirectly, has met with people who have every reason to be miserable, angry, bitter, etc. at themselves, the world, and God. Yet instead they choose to be joyful, happy, and content. And we wonder, how!

  • How can someone be joyful despite losing everything? Having a deadly illness? Being paralyzed? Or continuously facing professional rejection?

  • What type of joy is that? Where can we find it?

Definitely we can say this is not something that we can find on earth.

The world teaches us to be self-sufficient and being submissive is a sign of weakness, yet we find ourselves as a prisoner of one or more weaknesses and struggling to overcome them.

When we go back to the old days, there were hardly any gadgets in the house. Everything was handmade, no refrigeration, microwave, dishwasher, washer and dryer, and there was no television, telephone, computer, etc. Despite so many things were lacking, people then had more time than now and life was calm and slow based. A simple book was appreciated, social gatherings were enjoyable, and silent time to cultivate and meditate was doable.

Comparing then and now, we all have every gadget that comes to mind that needs to help us finish quickly and ease the day. Despite this people are busier more than ever at home and at work. They hardly have any time to appreciate anything; they are full of haste and rushing through the day.

"'The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; you who say in your heart, 'Who will bring me down to the ground?' Though you ascend as high as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,' says the Lord" (Obadiah 1:3-4).

When we only depend on ourselves, refuse to let God take over and have pride to admit our weaknesses, we become a prisoner of pride.

Pride puts us in competition with God as Adam and Eve fell from the Garden of Eden due to disobedience to God, listening to the advice of the serpent, and their pride, "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5).

My way becomes the only way and my heart will fill with self-made man/woman. Determination to do it on my own; no matter what is the cost; I cannot admit that I am in need even to the point that will cost me my entire life.

"Blessed are the poor in the spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" ((Matthew 5:3).

The poor in the spirit is the one who can admit his weakness and his lacking to save himself. He is the one who pleads for forgiveness. He is the one who can call on God to come and save him, help him, and show him the way to joy, freedom, and liberty.

"Now Jesus walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the Sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.' They immediately left their nets and followed Him" (Matthew 4:18-20).

Through repentance, confession, and submission we can surrender ourselves completely to God and let Him show us the way to love, joy and peace so that God will be delighted to accept us.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22-25).

How wonderful it is to get to know God and how lovely it is to have an intimate relationship with Him. Great joy comes from knowing that God is in control. He supplies us with all our needs. There is nothing He does in our life without reason or aim to make us a better person or to give us a new blessing. Get to know Him!

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

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